Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Why Fernando?

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Today, I met Joey and Fernando at Palomino for a late lunch.  When Fernando got up from the table to use the restroom, Joey pulled his chair closer to me and asked, “So, why Fernando?”

Let me tell you the back story.  I had met Fernando through my roommate, James, a few years ago.  James works with one of Fernando’s roommates and would get us together for occasional dinners.  Sometimes, I wasn’t able to make it.  For example – Fernando, Richard, and Antonio make it a habit of inviting flocks of friends over for annual Bay 2 Breakers and Pride celebrations.  I had never been able to make it over the last three or four years due to weddings and graduations happening on those very weekends.  However, every time we shared a meal, I learned 10 things about him I did not know before.  In my mind, I tucked away these notes and thought, one day, someone is going to make a movie about his life.

After coming back from Asia and enrolling at BDFI, I was given a final assignment for the night program.  Make a 3-5 minute short on anything I want.  It could be any genre.  (I had shot a lot of footage of my ex-boyfriend’s mother’s political campaign earlier this year, but I went into that experiment not knowing a thing about filmmaking and the planning process involved.)  I knew that Fernando had the most potential to be the subject for a mini film.  When I approached him, he was almost as excited as I was.  He’s been the subject of numerous TV and online interviews, has networked and broken bread with some of the most influential and respected elected officials in SF, and is not shy about who he is and what he stands for.  At the time of proposing the project idea, I did not know that he had been diagnosed with HIV.  I only discovered this when we met to talk more about his involvement and activism with the Latino AIDS community.  As for Joey, he has a significant past he’d like to share with us, as well.

My goal for this project is to make people feel something when they watch it.  I’m hoping to change someone’s views and attitudes.  Fernando and I agreed that HIV/AIDS is still taboo in more conservative Latino and Asian conversations.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  (Even my own family has concerns with my involvement with this story.  The irony.)

So, I asked Ling, whom I report to at the Korematsu Institute if she could show me a sample treatment she has used for past projects.  Ling continues to blow my mind every day with her accomplishments (at such a young age), unfathomable memory, and relentless work ethic.  Well, I don’t know her actual age, but she looks so young…  I did, however, come across this great site put together by a guy who completed his first documentary project and what he learned from that experience.  Really good insight into the costs (time, money, blood, sweat) that went into that labor of love.

Is it too hopeful to think that the anticipated frustrations will be outweighed by the rewards of going through with this project?

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Written by winniewongsf

July 30, 2010 at 12:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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